As the founders of two of the world’s largest open-source media platforms – Wikipedia and Connexions – they have both been accused of being dreamers. The idea of creating a platform for authors, teachers and students to create, remix and share courses and textbooks was initially dismissed.

Today, these online and downloadable resources have spread across the globe and are used by hundreds of millions of people. For Camara and for schools in Africa, their success allows the opportunity of education for many of the marginalised, those who have had to quit schools because their textbooks are too costly and those who are in schools that can not afford specialised teachers in the areas of Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry etc. We are starting to imagine a facility that will allow for educational materials and textbooks which are available as software pre-installed on computers and available to download through the Internet. It is also available at a low cost to print.

Another reason for adding complete libraries and educational materials onto the computers is that language barriers are preventing parents (immigrant and native) from helping their children with their homework as most of them did not have the access to English classes as their children do now.

The fact that these educational resources can be easily edited means that schools and colleges can update their curriculums and learning materials, i saw that Pluto was still listed a a planet on the Science books here in Kenya which will continue to be used for many years.

The Open Education movement is allowing anyone, anywhere to write, assemble, customise and publish courses and textbooks. Camara uses their own OpenSource course called Skillbuilder which provides basic IT literacy courses. This year, we are adding two more courses that will be pre-loaded onto every cmoputer sent to schools in Africa and will be also be available to download for free from our website.

The real benefit of Opensource is that learning materials can be tailored to individual needs, in contrast to today’s “off the rack” materials, together with quicker feedback loops that match learning outcomes more directly with content development and improvements made after volunteers return from the Africa2008 Summer overseas teacher training programs.

Everyone has something to learn. Everyone has something to teach.

If you are intersted in being a part of the program or would like to volunteer, please contact info@camara.ie

School children in Kenya using Wikipedia

School children in a Camara lab in Kenya